Position Reviews: How Did The Canes Perform Compared to Last Year?

Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE

State Of The U breaks down the performance of each position on the field, taking a look at comparisons to last year and what improved.

The off season of college football is a long one. Sure, recruiting helps fill the void, but nothing compares to game day and the excitement that Canes football brings. To help ease you into the post season, SOTU will be going through the position groups of this year's Hurricanes, and comparing them to the previous year's group. The purpose of this is to see how the team has changed, what improved, what didn't, and what to look forward to in 2013.

I have been looking forward to writing this breakdown for a while, because safety is one of my favorite positions on the field. They can change the game in an instant if they are capable, and can produce some of the best hits you will see. My first impression of the 2012 group is that they likely outperformed the 2011 group mainly because of the newcomers, but then again, the guys previous were not bad at all in their own right.

So, without further ado, the stats:

2011 Stats Tackles TFL Sacks INT PBU
Vaughn Telemaque 59 .5 0 1 1
Andrew Swasey 11 0 0 0 1
Kacy Rodgers II 3 1 0 0 0
JoJo Nicholas 66 2.5 0 2 1
A.J. Highsmith 12 0 0 0 0
Ray Ray Armstrong 34 .5 0 1 2
Totals 185
4.5
0
4
5

And from 2012:

2012 Stats Tackles TFL Sacks INT PBU
Deon Bush 34 1 0 0 3
A.J. Highsmith 32 0 0 1 4
Rayshawn Jenkins 27 0 0 1 3
Kacy Rodgers II 54 2 0 0 2
Andrew Swasey 4 0 0 0 0
Vaughn Telemaque 20 0 0 0 0
Totals 171 3 0 2 12

Looking at those numbers, you can now see why i was hesitant to declare my first impression correct. The 2012 safeties, with the addition of Bush and Jenkins, certainly helped impact the passing game a bit more with the increased pass break ups, but registered lower numbers in every other category. Sure, the lower production is likely due to the loss of Ray Ray Armstrong, and a bit of youth outside of Telemaque, but you can easily see the upcoming growth.

Deon Bush and Jenkins were both freshmen, and both played extremely well. Bush started for almost the whole season, and Jenkins picked up the slack when Bush was hurt. Outside of that, probably the best thing to notice is the growth of some of the more "questionable" talent, like A.J. Highsmith and Kacy Rodgers. Those guys, granted a lot of it was due to necessary playing time, showed incredible growth from 2011 to 2012, and look to factor heavily into next year as well.

Incoming guys like Jamal Carter and Artie Burns (assuming he isn't placed at CB) will infuse this already young, talented safety group with even more youthful talent. The position is likely set for a few years, so get used to some big hits, Canes fans.

Thoughts on the middle of the defense?

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